Five Minute Guides to FASD

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Five Minute Guides

What is FASD?

FASD is a condition where the individual has neurological impairments caused by exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. The level of impairment varies depending on the quantity and timing of exposure to the fetus. In severe cases, there may also be physical impairments and these children may be diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

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How does FASD affect a child?

Each child is different and the severity and specific difficulties experienced will vary. The following are a range of symptoms typically associated with FASD:

Poor attention and concentration
Memory difficulties
Problems with emotional regulation - anger management
Poor organisation skills - difficulties sequencing events
Dysfunctional social skills - poor understanding of social boundaries
Delayed language development
Inappropriate risk taking
Sensory needs

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Is there any safe limit of alcohol during pregnancy?

Studies have shown that light to moderate use of alcohol during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of childhood behaviour difficulties. Research therefore concludes that there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

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How are FASD children described?

The following attributes are often used when describing FASD children:

aloof
over excited
easily distracted
anxious
fearful
obsessional
impulsive
noisy
boisterous
overactive

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How can schools support FASD children?

Children with FASD will require a personalised curriculum that may include:

additional support with developing literacy skills
visual scaffolding of learning steps through task boards
movement breaks
over-learning approaches
access to concrete examples particularly in maths and science subjects
a key worker who can provide regular pastoral support with managing peer relationships

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How common is FASD?

It is estimated that at least 1% of children have severe FASD. However, it is very difficult to get reliable figures as people generally under report their alcohol use. The number of children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy will be significantly higher.

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Who can diagnose FASD?

A paediatrician specialising in neurodevelopment is usually required to make a diagnosis. However, currently there is no official internationally agreed criteria means that FASD is rarely diagnosed. A criteria for FASD under the label Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure is being developed. Currently it is therefore more likely to get a different diagnosis such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autistic spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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What are the benefits of diagnosis?

A diagnosis of FASD can help ensure that both health and educational professionals are able to provide suitable support for the child.

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FASD

Five Minute Guide to ODD

A handy printable version of this five minute guide suitable for handing to parents, school staff and other professionals and carers. Use 2-sided printing (set printer to flip on short side) and fold in half to produce A5 leaflet.

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Got more than five minutes?

You may be interested to read more:

FASD

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Back to the Five Minute Guides Index

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